Our Church

ST OLAVES

The Environmental Cleaners is linked to the Parish Church of St. Olave, Hart Street and it holds records of members’ marriages and their children’s baptisms as well as memorial services and the Company’s annual Rededication Service.

The church is dedicated in honour of Norway’s Patron Saint, Olaf or Olav, who was both King and Martyr. The name is spelt Olave in England. King Haakon of Norway worshipped here during the Second World War.

The first mention of the church in a document goes back to 1109 but it is likely that a church was built on the present site in 1080. Today’s church was built about 1661 and restored in 1951 following extensive damage in 1941.

Samuel Pepys and his wife Elizabeth were both regular members of the congregation and were buried in the chancel. From their time survives the stone gateway dated 1658 which is the entrance to what Charles Dickens named “The churchyard of St. Ghastly Grim”. Many victims of the Great Plague were buried in the churchyard.

Today the church is active with Sunday services and weekday musical recitals and with many special services; including annual services for the Clothworkers’ Company, Trinity House and the Environmental Cleaners.

The Environmental Cleaners are maintaining the ancient livery company tradition by being associated with a City church and our members feel especially fortunate to have St. Olave’s as our Chaplaincy Church. Our Honorary Chaplain is the Rector.

Honorary Chaplains

  • The Reverend L. E. M. Claxton, Mc Ma
  • The Reverend Canon Eric T. N. Jarvis, Ma
  • The Reverend John Cowling, Ma
  • The Reverend Oliver Ross

Saint Martha – Our Patron Saint 

Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary and she received Christ into her house at Bethany. She complained to Christ that her sister Mary did not help sufficiently in preparing the house for his visit. She was present when her brother Lazarus was raised from the dead.

Saint Martha is an appropriate Patron for our Company; her associated emblem is a broom, which we feature in our armorial bearings; she tamed a dragon, which is also a feature in our armorial bearings and she is the Patron Saint of housewives, which in its broader context has traditionally implied cleaning.

The feast day of Saint Martha is the same as that of St Olave, the Patron Saint of our Chaplaincy Church, 29 July.